Hiking in Wisconsin – Devil’s Lake Loop

Weekend Trail ConditionsIce Wall of Pine Hollow SNADevil’s Lake has over 29 miles of hiking trails for any skill level including amazingly scenic sections of the National Ice Age Trail.  The trails vary in condition and difficulty from easy to challenging and are not maintained in the winter months. Steep climbs or descents and stairways are common on Devil’s Lake’s hiking trails.

 

For more information visit: https://www.devilslakewisconsin.com/activities/hiking/

Love of the Lens – On Location

Daniel Wright Woods  – Lake County,  Illinois

While March generally isn’t the best of weather anywhere in the midwest, today showed us sunny skies and 50 degrees.  With the warmer weather, the melted snow leaves for slushy, muddy trials and the Des Plaines River closer then we want (literally cutting off many of the paths) at the Daniel Wright Woods Forest Preserve. But nonetheless a very enjoyable experience.

This peaceful oasis among the bustling suburbs offers 4 miles of scenic trails: a short loop for hikers, bicyclists and skiers that circles a pond, and a 3-mile loop for hikers, bicyclists, skiers and horses.

A footbridge spanning the Des Plaines River (assuming the path to get to it is not flooded like today) links Wright Woods to Half Day Forest Preserve. Together they offer some of southern Lake County’s most scenic outdoor recreation opportunities and the Des Plaines River Trail passes through both preserves.

A Little History?

Wright Woods was named for one of Lake County’s first settlers, Captain Daniel Wright. In the early 1960s, these acres were some of the first acquired. In 2004, the 168-acre Lloyd’s Woods addition to Wright Woods expanded the preserve to its current 750 acres.

It provides the opportunity to see the powerful effects of water and fire. Prior to settlement by Europeans, wildfires regularly swept eastward across Lake County, only to be stopped by the Des Plaines River. Situated just east of the river, Wright Woods supports a rich oak and maple woodland that sometimes develops in less frequently burned areas. With large stands of maples found at few other places in Lake County, Wright Woods is a great place to view autumn colors.

 

For more information and location, visit https://www.lcfpd.org/wright-woods/

Love of the Lens – On Location

Winter at Indiana Dunes State Park, Michigan

Rarely do I get the opportunity to shot at a location at the Dunes without a single person present.  It’s easy….just show up when wind chills are below zero.

So often we think of a beach scene as sunny and warm.  Here ice mounds are not budging against the heavy waves being thrown at them.  Birds take flight.  Hiking trails stand lonely.

The unsung beauty a beach in it’s off seasonDSC_0032DSC_0035DSC_0019DSC_0022DSC_0023

Garden of the Gods

Shawnee National Forest is a Midwest destination unlike any other. Traverse 403 miles of hiking trails, discover local wineries and craft breweries, and don’t miss the Garden of the Gods.

images (1)

n southern Illinois, fields give way to forested hills, rugged bluffs and sweet surprises in Shawnee National Forest.

Outdoor enthusiasts make tracks to Giant City State Park, which gets its name from the steep, carved sandstone cliffs that resemble city streets fit for a giant. Hikers explore miles of trails or gather their gear and tackle rock-climbing and rappelling on the massive bluffs. Giant City Stables leads guided horseback tours along wooded paths. The clear and calm waters of Little Grassy Lake, part of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, are ideal for a day of fishing and boating. For a colorful detour, the quirky Makanda Boardwalk showcases the works of local artisans, including metalwork and gemstone jewelry.

Head for the Forest

My Fall Favorite

Traverse City, Michigan

images (2)

The days are warm, the nights are cool, and you won’t find a prettier place to take a color tour. Rolling hills are painted in deep reds, bright oranges and sunny yellows – a striking contrast against the sapphire blue of Grand Traverse Bay.

images (3)

Some of the best hiking, biking, fishing and boating is all here.

https://www.traversecity.com/fall/outdoors/

Rock Out!

Enjoy a Unique Experience Full of Indian Lore and Natural Wonders in Delaware, Ohio.

images (1)

Formed millions of years ago by the tremendous force of an underground river cutting through solid limestone rock, the Olentangy Indian Caverns today offer an exciting excursion into ancient Indian lore with a maze of beautiful winding passages and spacious underground rooms. There is evidence that the Wyandotte Indians used these caverns as a haven from the weather and from their enemies, the Delaware Indians. One of the large rooms “Council Chamber” is believed to have been used by the Wyandottes for tribal ceremonies. This room contains a large rock table referred to as Council Table.  The first white man believed to have entered the caverns was J. M. Adams, a member of a westbound wagon train that camped nearby in 1821. During the night one of his oxen broke loose and wandered off. In the morning the ox was found dead at the bottom of the entrance to the ancient Indian cavern. After exploring the entrance, Adams carved his name and date on the wall.  The carving still remains but is hard to see due to being partially covered by Flowstone.

Various artifacts found in the caverns indicate that the Indian Council Room was used by Wyandotte Indians for making arrows and other stone implements until as late as 1810.  These items were found when the caverns were opened and some are on display in the Museum.  This remarkable geological wonder is now accessible to everyone from the Museum atop the entrance. Concrete stairways descend 55 feet to the maze of natural passages and rooms occupying three different levels. The second level contains Indian Lover’s Bench, Battleship Rock and The Crystal Room. Fat Man’s Misery is a passage leading to Cathedral Hall and Bell Tower room which is 105 feet below the earth’s surface. Beyond are passages and rooms still unexplored. A fourth level where an underground river is flowing to the Olentangy River has been partially explored but not opened to the public. It is known that the river has formed a lake but its size has not been determined. Many miles of passages have never been explored.

 

http://www.olentangyindiancaverns.com

Woodlands, Wetlands, Prairies and Birds!

Hike the Preserves at Crabtree Nature Center near Chicago, IL.

download

With the help of active restoration and natural succession, the 1,182 acre parcel of farmland that has become Crabtree Nature Center has been restored to ecological heath and biodiversity.

Crabtree is known as a birding site.  Up to 270 species have been recorded migrating through the area.  Many have been thrilled to spy a sandhill crane family or spot a flock of hooded mergansers on the lake.